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A General Approach to Welfare Measurement through National Income Accounting

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  • Geir B. Asheim
  • Wolfgang Buchholz

Abstract

We develop a framework for analyzing national income accounting using a revealed welfare approach that is sufficiently general to cover, e.g., both the standard discounted utilitarian and maximin criteria as special cases. We show that the basic welfare properties of comprehensive national income accounting, which were previously ascribed only to the discounted utilitarian case, in fact extend to this more general framework. In particular, it holds under a wide range of circumstances that real NNP growth (or equivalently, a positive value of net investments) indicates welfare improvement. We illustrate the applicability of our approach by considering resource allocation mechanisms in the Dasgupta-Heal-Solow model of capital accumulation and resource depletion.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 831.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_831

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Keywords: national income accounting; dynamic welfare;

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References

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  1. M. L. Weitzman, 1974. "On the Welfare Significance of National Product in Dynamic Economy," Working papers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics 125, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. John Hartwick, 1976. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers, Queen's University, Department of Economics 220, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Asheim, G.B. & Buchholz, W. & Tungodden, B., 1999. "Justifying Sustainability," Papers, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration- 5/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  4. Hamilton, Kirk & Clemens, Michael, 1999. "Genuine Savings Rates in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 333-56, May.
  5. John M. Hartwick, 1990. "Natural Resources, National Accounting and Economic Depreciation," Working Papers, Queen's University, Department of Economics 771, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Dasgupta, Partha & M Ler, Karl-G Ran, 2000. "Net national product, wealth, and social well-being," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 69-93, February.
  7. Asheim, Geir B. & Weitzman, Martin L., 2001. "Does NNP growth indicate welfare improvement?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 233-239, November.
  8. Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Valuing Objects and Evaluating Policies in Imperfect Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C1-29, May.
  9. John Forth, 2001. "The low-paid worker and the low-paying employer: characterisations using WERS98," NIESR Discussion Papers, National Institute of Economic and Social Research 163, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  10. Dixit, Avinash & Hammond, Peter & Hoel, Michael, 1980. "On Hartwick's Rule for Regular Maximin Paths of Capital Accumulation and Resource Depletion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 551-56, April.
  11. Pemberton, Malcolm & Ulph, David, 2001. " Measuring Income and Measuring Sustainability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 25-40, March.
  12. Withagen, Cees & B. Asheim, Geir, 1998. "Characterizing sustainability: The converse of Hartwick's rule," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 159-165, September.
  13. Heal, G., 1990. "The Optimal Use Of Exhaustible Resources," Papers, Columbia - Graduate School of Business fb-_90-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  14. Cairns, Robert D., 2000. "Sustainability accounting and green accounting," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 49-54, February.
  15. Burmeister, Edwin & Hammond, P J, 1977. "Maximin Paths of Heterogeneous Capital Accumulation and the Instability of Paradoxical Steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 853-70, May.
  16. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Sefton, J. A. & Weale, M. R., 1996. "The net national product and exhaustible resources: The effects of foreign trade," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 21-47, July.
  18. Asheim, Geir B, 1994. " Net National Product as an Indicator of Sustainability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 257-65.
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  1. > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Environmental Economics > Environmental accounting
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